Iowa State should have no trouble filling its new 50,000-seat stadium despite last year's 4-7 record. Luther Blue, second in the nation at returning kickoffs last fall, will be zigzagging again. Watching him will elate Cyclone fans. Watching him catch Wayne Stanley's passes will depress Cyclone foes.
Bud Moore, a former Bear Bryant aide, is the new coach at Kansas, Don Fambrough having resigned after the Jayhawks won only one conference game. Moore, an offensive specialist, has installed the wishbone.
Kansas State, as has been said so often in recent years, is rebuilding.
If the rigid pecking order here is altered, Wisconsin may be the team to move up. The Badgers, who suffered three of their four 1974 losses by a total of 14 points, rushed for 3,162 yards, beat Nebraska and had their first winning season in a decade. However, Coach John Jardine must come up with a quarterback to feed the ball to Tailback Billy Marek (5'8", 188 pounds), who ran for 1,215 yards, 304 of them against Minnesota. Dan Kopina, who threw but four passes, is the likely starter. Wisconsin needs bolstering at receiver and defensive end and all kinds of luck to get by Michigan in the opening game.
Purdue has a lulu of a schedule. Following their opener, the Boilermakers take on Notre Dame, which they've nailed 13 times in their last 25 games, USC and Miami of Ohio. Down the stretch on successive weekends come Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan. Despite the loss of Larry Burton, Purdue's offense should roll with Mark Vitali at quarterback and the rushing of Scott Dierking and Mike Pruitt. Tackle Ken Novak (6'7", 275 pounds) returns to head the defense.
Cal Stoll has come up with something called the "Minnesota Multiple Pro-Style Offense" to help his Gophers improve on a 4-7 season. He could use a pro-style passer as well, since Tony Dungy, who is being challenged by sophomore Marc Trestman for the starting job, completed only 39 of 94.
Throwing, tackling and remaining healthy will be the primary concerns for Illinois. Bob Blackmail lost nearly his entire defense after the team's first winning season since 1965, but Jim Kopatz will be at quarterback again. Indiana has nine starters returning on offense, which would be fine if they were returning from something better than a 1-10 record. Lee Corso should get good mileage from Terry Jones, who led the league in passing, and from Courtney Snyder, an All-Big Ten halfback. The Hoosier defense, however, allowed 27 points and 417 yards per game.
Iowa fans will groove over Jim Jensen (6'4", 222 pounds), who could finish the year as the Hawkeyes' alltime best ballcarrier. Bob Commings also has another good secondary but too brutal a schedule. Northwestern, despite the best efforts of Running Back Jim Pooler, is unlikely to rise.